Babcock International has today announced it has taken the difficult decision to exit operations at its Appledore facility in Devon, ending its site lease in March 2019.

The news comes days after people marched in Bideford at a protest to save the shipyard and after a petition signed by 8,000 people was handed in to the House of Commons.

Babcock say its focus is now firmly on its workforce and its determination to protect their employment within the business. To that end, the company will offer relocation opportunities for all 199 Appledore employees at other Babcock facilities, 140 of whom are already on short-term redeployment to its Devonport operations.

“Babcock very much regrets having to take this course of action and recognises the impact it will have on its dedicated and professional workforce. The company will now engage in a consultation period, working closely with its employees and their Trade Unions representatives during this difficult time.

In 2017/18 Appledore generated around £24 million of the Group’s total underlying revenue of £5.4 billion.”



    • Navy Lookout have said that the Arrowhead 140 is still very much in the race, but they can’t say anything else, lets assume its from a well informed source, so thats a small bit of good new s at least!

      • That’s good news. The Leadner design would be OK for the Gulf role if the RN are going to station a ship there permanently. We could perhaps then cut 2 hull from the budget and just build 3. But Arrowhead is a better design for fleet work. And then I would only buy 3 for the budget, but in Arrowhead’s case on 3 for 1 would make it a bit of an orphan design. Perhaps buy another T26 then which would help availability of the first rate ASW platform (on a 3 for 1 basis).

        • I do believe that BAE/CM have this contract locked down! but from what i can tell/hope Babcock are still in the race, but I have feeling its more or less on life support.

        • After speaking in person with somebody who works in Babcock’s sales department just last week, I was left with the very firm impression that Arrowhead 140 is still very enthusiastically in the race.

        • Well Mr BAE representative, you would say that wouldn’t you .

          What i DO know is that as late as last month they were showing of the Arrowhead 140 design in Poland.

      • another piece of heritage gone, chatham, pompey,Devenport don’t get the chance to build warships anymore BAE get the business from the blinkered M.O.D

        • Pompey and Devonport haven’t built warships for over 50 years. Leanders where the last warships built inthose HM Dockyard’s in the late 60s.
          Modular units for T45 and QE don’t count as ship building. They could have been built anywhere.

          • You are incorrect. OPV’s are warships and Portsmouth had built plenty of them in the 2000’s when Vosper Thornycroft’s, BVT and BAE. Modular blocks are pure shipbuilding too.

    • Exactly! And future ships! It built all the New Irish OPVs recently! And I bet Babcock close down rosythe in Scotland also!!! This shouldn’t happen! The government should step in! We have far to few capable yards with capable men as it is!!!

  1. Yet more erosion of our ship building industry all because the government cannot get a comprehensive and affordable strategy together. There should be enough work to keep the few yards we have left with work. Instead, we get sporadic work streams that leave some programmes artificially slowed and others requiring lots of ships in a short space of time.
    It’s not rocket science, are they just thick as shit?

    • Much thicker.

      We’ve far too few shipbuilders left. If we ever need new warships in a hurry, we’re screwed.
      Very sad for Appledore. Feel for the workers there. The shipyard I worked at closed in 1993.

      • With an escort and patrol ship fleet of less than 30 and little hope of it getting to 35 we don’t need more than one yard. With two yards and ships having a 25/30 year life that’s not much more than one ship every two years. That’s bound to be a very expensive way to go.

    • It really depends on what you want. If you (and I don’t mean you personally) insist that the nations finances are run the same as household finances then we are all likely to be disappointed and see a lessened navy. The government says that national debt is at 85% of GDP at about £1,764 billion. This is not true. £435ish billion worth of the UK’s national debt, is owed to the Bank of England, which is owned by the government. £1328bn is about 64% of GDP and no worse or better than most. So ignore the debt for a bit. What has been happening is not really debt repayment (some of which goes as far back as 1700s) but shrinking of the state, and that includes shrinking of the armed forces.
      Governement does not have to have ready cash to spend, it can create money. A £100bn ship building plan would create £100bn of economic activity. Almost 35% of that would immediately come back to government in tax reciepts. Carefully worded conditions of use could see this money used in the UK further increasing economic activity and tax reciepts. Have a look at this.

      Like most things this is not a bottomless pit. National debt couldn’t get to a point where confidence in the currency was undermined for instance.

      One big job with this kind of plan would be ensuring that for every £1 spent there was a corresponding output.

      I’m trying to sell my house at the moment. I’ve had a number of people through the door with fixed budgets and fixed requirements that aren’t compatable. Sure you could get a bigger house for the price but not in this postcode. Take a hit on a few requirements and get a place where you want it. Or take a hit on the postcode and get the house you want. That is the reality we have with buying naval ships the way things are set up now. Unless you believe that endless efficiences can be made and suppliers cut their profits.
      One last issue is purpose. I regularly fall into the trap of playing Royal Navy Top Trumps with our ships, wanting everything into one platform, often creating Jack of all trade ships instead of masters. Space is such an issue now that adding more capability simply creates problems and compromises with others.

    • Making £24m this year. With no solid orders lined up that flips the other way next fiscal year. Shipbuilding is one of the most capital intensive enterprises you can engage in. The only one that costs more between orders is aircraft manufacturing.

      • Very intensive when trying to build something like Appledore. In today’s prices would be around 65 to 70 million pounds. But Germany spends 200 million on just modernizing their facilities! Ha! They are far more expensive too, Ha Ha!

    • Appledore contributed/ generated 24 mil towards the revenue stream of Babcock.
      It does not say that the yard was operating at break even or profit.
      Wages, materials, equipment maintenance , insurance, power bills etc all need to be covered.
      Best guess is the 24 mil did not cover the yearly running costs hence its being closed.

  2. Appledore earned 280M GBP with the 4 Samuel Beckett OPV, within 2012 to 2018 (7 years). 40M GBP per year. If Babcock is to win T31e program, among the 1.25B GBP for ~10 years (125M/year), more than 40M GBP must have been used in Appledore.

    So, Babcock though the T31e contract is risky?

  3. I know they were competing for a contract to build OPVs for Malta but didn’t win.
    They’ve realise it would not be competitive moving blocks from Appledore to Rosyth for the t31, Babcock bid maybe a single yard build.

    Wasn’t Appledore the only remaining English yard that has built a warship in recent times?

    • Cammel Laird and Barrow-in-Furness still remain, but obviously BiF only builds nuclear subs and CL’s most recent warship experience is either blocks of the QECs or the Upholder-class diesel subs in the early 90s.

      This is definitely worrying though. Appledore was a key aspect of the Babcock bid, which means the T31 competition is probably going to devolve into English shipbuilding vs Scottish shipbuilding (Cammel Laird vs Rosyth most likely, although Harland and Wolffe may still play a role). This situation really didn’t need more politics thrown in

    • It’s a pity they have not been able to secure more exports for this ship beyond the ROI. I believe they even considered increasing their order beyond 4 when the pound dropped against the EURO, they do have quite a large EEZ they are supposed to patrol. I think they where also exploring building a hospital ship along the same lines as New Zealand. I’m not sure if UK yards would be favorites for that order or not.

      • So Babcock are pulling strings trying to force an order?

        We should order 5 more River B2 and offer them to the yard, conditional that they can build them at a sensible price. Not 300 million plus like before.

        • I understand Babcock are bidding for the Solid Support Ships and T31. Reading between the line they’re saying 60m and then what. Babcock own it to their workers to take the 60m and then wait for the outcome of the 2 tenders, unless of course Babcock management believe bids will fall short then you have ask why would we want to give them an order when there’s yards like CL who seem competitive.

          I actually think a UK yard will get the SSS if reasonably priced.

  4. £60m of work offered to Babcock to keep the yard open but Babcock refused. You have to wonder are Babcock trying to play a political game here to secure T31e. They know the unions will do their upmost to ensure the general public get a message that the government is at fault.

    • Babcock are not being offered £60m of new work, it is future work already awarded and scheduled to be completed at Devonport … what the government is offering is to bring that work forward to now.

      Issue is that no work is guaranteed for Appledore after this, and leaves a gapping whole in the scheduled work at Devonport . Babcock took the decision to ensure the viability of one yard rather than put two at risk.

  5. And when the government cave and give the Scottish a second independence vote, and they do leave… What happens when we don’t have enough shipyards?

  6. I think the issue with Appledore indicates the complete problem with MoD ship building. The first problem is that the covered dock for new build will not be able to house the new Type 31, if I remember correctly it can only take a new build of 104 m.
    Yet this would have been enough for the new OPVs and boats of the Gib Squadron. But the new OPVs went to BAE on the Clyde so that the workforce could be retained for the delayed start of the Type 26s. If the Type 26s were ordered on time then it is possible that Appledore could have built OPVs. See the problem.
    Appledore is a good solid ship building yard but can only build either sections of major combatants, Offshore Patrol Vessels, Fast Attack vessels etc basically anything up to 100m above that either they would need to build it outside or they cannot do it.
    What would be needed is a major commitment to entice Babcock to extend the existing covered dry dock or the government to invest directly, there is a third possibility that I would prefer and that is to build a class of corvettes based on the Khareef class.
    I would be interested to know what this 60 million contract that the government offered was for, does anyone know?

    • Ron, I see what your saying but the Batch 2 were built because of the delay not because they were needed. Not that a couple more OPVs would not be put to good use and we could have piggy backed on the Irish order to keep costs down.

      Interesting on the covered dock, I don’t think BAe Clyde can build the T26 in their build hall.

    • From what I have read, the government is not offering them new work, rather offered to bring forward work that is scheduled for their Devonport yard at a letter date …. this would create a hole in the work at Devonport, potentially putting it at risk in the future as well

    • The building dock is 116 meters, but has built ship diagonally too. Not best thing to do I know as it takes up space and is clumsy.

  7. BAE don’t have a dockhall at Govan or Scotstoun. They build the vessels in blocks in large fabrication halls then assemble them outside on the quay at Govan. They move them about using multiaxle trailers. To launch them they move them on to a barge, take it down the clyde, sink the barge to allow the ship to float off. The ship is then towed back to Scotstoun for outfitting at the quay. BAE were going to build a modern covered dockhall at Scotstoun but the SNP got upset because it would have meant Govan would close.

  8. What a disaster, we spent around £500M to house the F35 at RAF Marham, so why not find some more to extend the yard in Appledore to save it if they win the bid for the T31e?
    8,000 fewer votes for the current government I guess.

    • Morning
      It continues to amuse and amaze that you manage to find every piece of news to have a go at F-35.
      Everyone needs their small mountain I suppose.
      Infrastructure is not cheap and F-35 will provide work for at least the next 30 years, specifically around the areas where the aircraft are based.

  9. Babcock have gone very quiet regarding T31, very little on their website. Wouldn’t surprise me if they will withdraw. Bae already had a solid design that just needed stretching, so they are probably way behind especially as they have dropped their arrowhead 140 design now. Maybe to much to achieve in such a short time frame to be competitive?

    • I wouldn’t call a design that’s a further stretch of an already stretched design “solid”. The adjectives that spring to mind are instead “cheap”, “suboptimal” and “compromised”.

      • One of the main requirements is that they are cheap, so they have indeed came up with a solid design which fits all the requirements asked of them.

  10. Time ticks on and still no type 31 order. Considering the ships are supposed to be coming into service in 2023 things are starting to look even worse for the future of the Royal navy. The government have no bandwidth or capability for anything but BREXIT.
    Meanwhile one of the last and best shipyards in the UK is quietly announced to be closing and nothing is said. It is all just fine. Strategic incoherence yet again Bravo HMG. Just order the damn type 31 and make sure we get enough of them to actually be of use.

  11. tragic shame for quality engineering – the Appledore blocks were the only ones to ever actually fit properly on this recent block builds

    I hope hope hope its a bit of politics to push through the 31E bid when the other party don’t actually want it

    and for the record, the Arrowhead is the better design on a proven hull – anyone with more than a decimal point in front of their IQ can only look at the new OPV issues to see how some ships are thrown together

    we let Swan Hunter go – lets not make the same mistake again

  12. I would like to see a BMT Venari (sp) 85 built as a future MCM vessel built to test the remote operations etc. Just a single hull for now, with the prospect of more if the testing works out. Appledore would have been the ideal place to build it.

  13. Whether Appledore stays open or not the NSS is just shambolic. There is enough requirement to fund a UK shipbuilding industry, if we do it properly.

    A 25 year plan could/should look something like this:

    25 T31 (unit price £400m) = £400m pa (1 per year)
    13 T26 (unit price 1200m) = £600m pa (1 every 2 years)
    7 Aegir FFT (unit price £300m) = £100m pa (1 every 3 years)
    9 Aegir JALS (unit price £450m) = £150m pa (1 every 3 years)
    10 SSN (unit price £1250m) = £500m pa (1 every 2.5 years)
    4 SSBN (unit price £6000m) = £1bn pa (1 every 6 years)
    10 Specialist ships (unit price £200m) = £80m pa (1 every 2.5 years)
    500 Small vessels and enablers (Average unit price £3m) = £60m pa (20 per year).

    This equates to less than£3bn per annum each year of a 25 year NSS and would bring us in at 80 strong RN (82 inc Carriers). Even if you add in another £500m per year contingency, it is still sustainable against an equipment budget of £17bn p.a. and includes CASD at a whopping 24bn +12.5bn contingency.

    All of the costs above are those quoted in the press or on the conservative side, so no reason why if I can do this now – someone else couldn’t work this out and create a sustainable baseline for the UK.

    Its not just ships btw – the UK government should be supporting manufacturing even more, s we are good at it (better than we think actually) and we need to rebalance our economy away from its dependence on services.

    Pick your own fleet design – I have standardised on hulls and accept the compromises a small navy needs to make, but the above has far more of what we need and at a budget I would be happy with.

    • I like the idea, but you are missing the amphibious assault ships and the Astutes are running at 1.64m for boat 7 and they take longer than 2.5 years to build.

      • Hi Paul

        I think the astute take that long is a political decision, they can build them quicker. I believe the average price is £1.25bn, but even at £2bn each over 27 years it £750m pa.

        I am not missing the Amphibs – I have rolled them into a joint amphibious logistics ship as the Dutch do with their Karel Doorman vessel. This will give us a greater capability to do both supply and amphibious and we leverage the Aegir hull form.

        A KD can hanger 6 merlins and has LCU spots and a steel beach, but we could adapt as we see fit. They are a big uptick on our Bays and Albion’s – but I accept are different and not to everyones liking – but they are to my liking and I would start building them tomorrow if it was up to me. Theres also no Mine hunters/sweepers as I think T31 with systems will do this and loads of other stuff (CB90s all round).

        Ultimately – my point is that there is enough work to have an NSS and the cost isn’t ridiculous when you smooth it out over the 25 year timeframe. Even if it was £4bn peer year and the same for the RN and Army that is £12bn, which leaves £5bn for support contracts. that’s a whole lot of support.

        • How is a Karel Doorman type vessel a big uptick on our Bays and Albion’s if they don’t even have a well dock?

          Where are the LCU spots? Do you mean LCVP’s? How is 3 Cdo going to get everything ashore in LCVP’s?

          Am I misunderstanding your proposal?

      • I think we should go for 4 perhaps 5 sites on this, but I also think we need to move Complex warship building into England now (unfortunately as a result of the SNP).

        T26 = Clyde (BAES)
        T31 = Liverpool (CL)
        Aegir ships = Liverpool (CL)
        Subs – Barrow (BAES)
        Small vessels – Devonport (Babcock / Atlas / Others)
        Specialists – Devonport (Babcock)

        I have to say I think we should spread the load and hope that this baseline allows the companies to invest and gain other orders.

        I also have to say that I would prefer the T31’s to be built in a “Frigate factory”, but given Scotlands constant stance on independence we need to be making alternative arrangements, so off to the Mersey we go.

        • You know I like it.
          The 500 small vessels would include CB90s or equivilent, LCU/LCVP, UKBA Damen Stan 4207s, and 9-11m RHIBs to match up with the RNLI who have 200+ of them.
          This is work for at least 3 small yards, including HolyHead Marine plus maybe Tyneside and Chatham.

  14. New Zealand built a shorter, 85m version of the Irish 90m OPV that Appledore built. The NZ version is ice hardened, lacks the 76mm gun, but does have a landing deck & hangar for a light helicopter (Seasprite size).
    I would love to keep Appledore open with an order for 4x stretched, say 95m, OPV with 57mm gun, ice hardening + hangar & deck for Wildcat, for the RN as the RN lacks ice hardened vessels.
    Sadly that extra billion for defence in the budget is just a sticking plaster.
    So lacking MoD or export orders, Appledore is doomed.
    The NHS has taken all the spare UK Gov cash for the next decade, so no money for fantasy fleets, or anything else.

    • @JohnHartley

      The UK spends a shed load on defence – it just does so very poorly in my opinion. We try to gold plate everything instead of evolving a design. Plenty of examples of this so won’t go into it.

      The RN can have a stunning fleet, compact but dangerous with a strategic plan and a commitment to funding (nothing outrageous – see above).

      We need to stop expensive mid life upgrades and build new. The FSL has already stated this – now we need to give our friends in South America (Brazil, Chile) a heads up and a payment scheme so they can receive their first T31 in 15 years time. £10m per year would do it, or we start them off in the Atlantic and then cycle them into fisheries duties for their remaining years. It doesn’t always have to be high end, we need proper lifecycle management as well

      • Well there are so many figures for what the UK spends on defence. There is so much spin, so many half truths, so much fiddling on the 2%. Then of course the crazy PFI’s (Voyager I am looking at you). Then huge amounts spent on half thought out projects that end up cancelled.
        However, there is still a huge black hole in the MoD budget for the next decade. £20 billion would fill it at £2 billion a year, but £20 billion a year extra is pledged to the NHS, so that will take all the spare cash. If it was spent wisely, say enough doctors & nurses in hospitals at night & weekends, then great. My guess is that most of it will go in virtue signalling with extra layers of diversity managers on £130k a year instead.

      • Forget about Brazil … they dismissed the BAE proposal based on the Leander for their project of light frigates / Tamadaré corvettes.

  15. Dreadnought program is an example of the MoD wanting a gold standard of submarine technology.
    I very much think the Dreadnought program will be the main source of drain of the Royal Navy’s budget, over the next crucial decade for RN fleet procurement. Priced at around £8 billion per sub. is of poor value of money for CASD, and needs to be cancelled. The UK does not need the range of Trident D5 missile. A Trident C4 or like type new missile of about 10m should fit in a Astute class sub. and will be sufficient to cover the range of the North east Atlantic to Eurasia. Only the USA needs Trident D5 for the range, of the vast Pacific ocean as well as all of the North Atlantic.
    If the UK needed to threaten China now, without war with Russia as well, a Vanguard sub. would need to be sent to the Pacific anyway, just think about it please!
    So why not develop the Astute class for CASD with 5 new build ‘stretched Astute’s, including one for SSGN, with a added missile compartment equipped with a new missile. Cost should be around £2 billion per sub. Submarines are built in modular sections anyway, new module inserted and welded between standard sections etc.

    Most of the money saved should be spent on a more capable mid range fleet escorts, VL-41 for type-45, MV-22 and BMD for UK base’s.

    Just a warning, if Corbyn gets his hands on power, Dreadnought will be cancelled anyway, with No replacement

      • Any missile launched from North Atlantic towards China, would need to go over Russia.
        Do you believe Russia would allow that??

      • The USA has CASD subs. in both Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
        Any missiles fired from Pacific Ocean not necessarily go over Russian territory.
        It is important where you are situated if you are a small country. The USA has a luxury of large space of ocean.

  16. It is very sad day,i have worked with Appledore lads in Devonport and a great bunch they are,what we will miss most though will be access to their fantastic team of skilled men who fabricated sections,swaged bulkheads,frames and outer shells in their workshops in Appledore for the type 23 refits ongoing at Devonport. I wish them luck,i know a few have been offered work in Devonport which is good news but we will sorely miss the workshop facilities and the great work that was produced there,God knows who will do this work now.

  17. However good Appledore may be as a shipyard I suspect it suffers from a couple of issues.

    Compared to other dockyards, i.e. BAES, CL, A&P, H&W and Babcock’s Rosysth, it lacks scale and other existing business to help it stand alone financially. It also seems the lease is expiring in March 2019 requiring Babcock to sign on for an extension. How long would that be? A short term £60M of revenue at who knows what margins won’t help much if Babcock doesn’t win the T31e competition and is then committed to a long term lease with no work to offset it once the short term “busy” work is gone.

    If Babcock does win the T31e competition then lacking Appledore it probably has the option to do more work at Rosysth or alternatively use A&P Tyne to build a module; A&P Tyne recently did the stern module for RRS Sir David Attenborough and previously the carriers flight deck and part of the hanger.

      • The point is that Babcock are not dependent on Appledore for T31e. If RN prefer the Babcock design then are you saying A&P or even CL for that matter would refuse the potential to manufacture a module for it if the opportunity arose? Neither are necessary partners at this stage and there are plenty of examples of competitors working together in military contracts should they be interested in future.

  18. Not particularly surprised, people are forgetting that Babcock acquired Appledore when they bought DML. Babcock has never traditionally been in the ship building business and the Appledore yard is quite frankly sub-optimal as a build or maintenance facility that has already gone into receivership in 2003 and struggled throughout her the latter half of the twentieth century and early 21st.

    Even with T31e I am sceptical that the yard had a realistic long term future, other more optimal build facilities like Portsmouth have already dropped out of the Ship Building business so it is rather a miracle that Appledore has made it thus far.

    If the Irish navy want more OPV there are plenty of yards that can serve their needs in the EU, I highly doubt that they would give the work to a UK yard if we are following through the Brexit disaster.

    • “I highly doubt that they would give the work to a UK yard if we are following through the Brexit disaster”.Groan.

      • Another Quitling not facing up to reality…

        Considering that Brexit utterly shafts Ireland both economically and politically why would they be interested in continued defence procurement from the UK?

        • Don’t be a silly billy. What the Irish do is their concern not ours. We don’t have to close the border our side. What they do their side is up to Berlin. Simples. Calm down now you will give yourself the vapours. 🙂

          • Agree with Marc and Steve. Our side of the border will remain open for trade and peace. What the theologically opposed EU dictates to the Irish to do is their loss. If the Irish wanted too we could come to a bilateral trade deal tomorrow ensuring Ireland’s land bridge to the EU (through the UKs road network) is maintained. Otherwise Ireland is about to get a very ha4d shock to their economy as we charge them WTO rules for imports and exports coming through the UK. 2% revenue to HMG for all Irish trade= about £1.5-2 billion a year extra.
            The EU can make as much of a big deal over the Irish issue they want to. Fact is the UK holds all the cards on that respect. No one wants a return to the troubles but it is the EU pushing this agenda (with the stupid nieve Irish government’s support). An enforced Irish settlement and reunion on the back of BREXIT…I do not think so. Not when majority in NI do not want to join one Ireland and are happy being UK citizens

          • Oh good Lord where start Mr Bell! That is a special level of delusion!

            “Our side of the border will remain open for trade and peace. ” –

            WTO Most favoured nation status, have a look into it before declaring that the UK will keep its border open for trade or Peace.

            “If the Irish wanted too we could come to a bilateral trade deal tomorrow ensuring Ireland’s land bridge to the EU (through the UKs road network) is maintained. ” –

            Not how the Single market works, you deal with the EU or not at all.

            “Otherwise Ireland is about to get a very ha4d shock to their economy as we charge them WTO rules for imports and exports coming through the UK. 2% revenue to HMG for all Irish trade= about £1.5-2 billion a year extra.” –

            The UK will also experience the same hard shock as we are forced to impose WTO mandated fees, if we don’t other nations will have us before the trade court so fast it will make your head spin.”

            ” Fact is the UK holds all the cards on that respect.” –

            No it doesn’t, we are one nation the EU less us is 27. They utterly dwarf us when it comes to economic clout!

            ” No one wants a return to the troubles but it is the EU pushing this agenda (with the stupid nieve Irish government’s support).” –

            No one does indeed want a return to the troubles but it is the UK Government not the Irish or the EU showing naivety on this!

            ” Not when majority in NI do not want to join one Ireland and are happy being UK citizens” –

            Current demographic polling shows Republicans will become the political voting majority in NI within the next five years…dwell upon that for a while!

  19. Morning all
    I hope to answer as many comments as possible above so apologies if I do not name check.

    It is disappointing to say the least that Appledore is closing now that the Irish order is complete and, as of yet, the yard has received no further orders of work.
    It is also interesting to note that the work force are not being laid off but redeployed to Devonport, or offered redeployment to Devonport.
    It is also a shame to hear that the lease is up, in that’s times of having assets on the books I would have thought Babcock had purchased the yard, that they haven’t and knew the lease tenure at the time of the Appledore yard purchase one can only assume this is a planned strategic move by Babcock to rationalise their overall UK ship building base, that means this has already been factored in to their Arrowhead bid.
    There are those out there who believe that the Babcock T31e bid is already “dead as a dodo”, an odd thing to wish for when we seek to diversify the UK ship building manufacturing base – it’s in the ship building strategy as well.
    There are plenty of yards still available for the building of blocks, some people have discounted Barrow but they have built warships before, their workforce currently build the most complex machines in the world so I think it is well within their skill set to build T31e blocks.
    Geoffrey Cox is an extremely powerful MP, until recently not widely known outside of government and the party – he’s the legal man now that keeps those that wish to disrupt Brexit in order so has great influence with the PM and those that make decisions.
    Whilst BAES are winning the PR game at the moment, after an early Babcock lead let’s not forget it’s not just Babcock who are putting the bid together. They have challenges though, as I mentioned in earlier blogs, about the amount of capital they can raise and the amount of risk their board is willing to take against the amount of return shareholders will receive.

    This is another move, within a wider game, that is currently being played with regards to the UK defence industrial complex with each player working out where they sit on the board and what move to take next.
    BAES do not have the better platform, but what they do have is the ability, if asked, to start cutting metal tomorrow.
    Babcock have the better platform (I do think they will have to change their combat management sytem though) but they do not currently have the ability to cut metal, not through lack of capacity, just through pure simple capital economics – companies do not build things at a loss, they do not take on things where the risk margin is larger than the profit.

    It’s going to be an interesting couple of months, this isn’t only just going to happen in the naval sector but affect all sectors of defence.

    The extra money that has been given by the chancellor is for specific things, give some breathing space so that planners can make sure concept through to decommissioning each system that delivers capability has a funded lifecycle.

    • “Geoffrey Cox is an extremely powerful MP, until recently not widely known outside of government and the party – he’s the legal man now that keeps those that wish to disrupt Brexit in order so has great influence with the PM and those that make decisions.” –

      He was that puffed up Prat who made that awful delusional cringe worthy speech at the Tory conference yes?

      By the by it is not disrupting Brexit, that is a self fulfilling event. Rather it is patriotically trying to save the country from utter disaster!

      • “Rather it is patriotically trying to save the country from utter disaster!”

        Like the utter disaster that was happening, and gaining speed, by remaining.

        Which was why the nation, by majority, voted to leave.

        Do you have your one way ticket to continental Europe yet?

        Because, with the defeatist, unpatriotic crap you come out with and total inability to believe in your nation or support its democratic decision that is where people like you need to go. Once the UK starts to rebuild its place in the world we need people who can see this nations potential, what it already is inside the EU, and what it can be outside of it.

        You clearly don’t fit that criteria.

        I’m sorry for saying all that as I enjoy reading your military comments and have no wish for fall out like you have with Chris.

        But with belief in my country and in Brexit running through my veins I just had to put my oar in at the comments like “disaster” you come out with.

        Sorry old boy.

    • Blah, blah, blah. Lot of words from Lee that add up to a big fat nothing.

      By the way, Baes will not be “cutting metal” for the Type 31’s. Get your facts straight.

      • Afternoon Ron5
        Always good to see your responses, good to see you can also count to 3.
        If you read the comment properly you would see I said could and not would, but I am guessing attention to detail isn’t your thing.
        One other thing, I never profess to state fact, merely and opinion and a view, you however seem very keen to express your facts for us all to read.
        Have a great day

  20. As a businessman operating a Devon wide logistics company I am sorry that North Devon is taking another knock as it is this part of the county that is most isolated and can ill afford to loose local jobs.

    At the same time you have to have a look at the history of the yard which has been in trouble for most of it’s modern life ie. since the sixties when the existing facility was built. It was nationalized in 1974 to save it going under and then sold again in 1989. By 2003 it had been put into receivership and acquired by DML in Plymouth who subsequently sold out to Babcock. They have managed to keep it “ticking over”. With no orders in the pipeline and the lease about to expire Babcock are making a difficult but sensible decision.

    The workforce is to offered redeployment in Plymouth and this can only help to consolidate skills so I see no reason why Babcock can’t be part of the T31e bid. The facilities at Devonport are first class. Dozens of ships have been built, serviced and based there so why not again now.

    • First class my a** there are no facilities to roll or form thick plate or bend framing the dockside workshops are a disgrace the complex roof leaks like a sieve one of the doors fell off 3years ago and still hasn’t been replaced the whole place is falling to bits but not to worry the lbgt pride bullshit is the priority according to management.

      • PMSL…
        Totally agree…There is no heavy steel works for that kind of work.
        The door issue on the complex is a joke. The company who installed them no longer exists so they have no idea what to do to repair it.

  21. This is made worse by the lack of an English Government.
    If this was a Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish yard, their respective government would be jumping up and down and their First Minister having a meeting with the PM.
    But England does not have a government and the UK Government, rightly, thinks on a UK wide basis.

  22. This is devastating! It was one yard I really liked! And had hope for building patrol boats ect for foreign markets! It built a few Irish offshore patrol boats! Why can’t the government step in! We need more ship building bases not less… I’m gutted!!!!!

    • No budget for more ships so no more orders as that cheerful chap RonnyFive pointed out earlier up the thread. Shame because we do need something between the Rivers and the HMC cutters.

      Something like the Rolls Royce Skadi OPV.

      Could make a case for four.

  23. I find it ironic that an English yard has clossed yet Scottish yards were given OPV work to save them! I think HMG should start looking at the whole nation not just try to play to Scotland.

  24. Our yards need to get away from being dependent on nothing but fockin MOD orders. Being designated as warship builders back in the 80s crippled yards that could do so much more now. Where was the investment from those lucrative orders, the bloody yards apart from Pallion and Appledore (ironically) still look shit!

  25. I want to say it again. Malta gets much in eu funds (which come from the UK as eu has not money of its own), for its military. This scum eu empire has always hated us! Its a fact we need to get over and deal with!

    • When pro eu left, libdem, anti-British ambition, anti-independence UK newspapers say the contract was lost due to BREXIT, who is at fault or being the bad guy? Not Britain or BREXIT. People died because Britain said no to Hitler, is that Britain’s fault too? This eu is evil pure and simple and British people who support this filth need to take a long hard look at themselves. This Appledore scandal is far bigger than a lost contract, be it eu or Babcock’s sneaky interest and manouvers, but the UK still needs to be slicker in selling itself.


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